Toronto Maple Leafs: Prized Prospect Nick Robertson Gives Team Scary Scoring Depth Potential
|Photo Credit: NHLI via Getty Images|
As the season gets closer, I will be going around the league looking at some headlines that I will be looking out for when things get started. I’ve already featured the potential 1-2 punch of Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki for the Montreal Canadiens, and today I will be talking about Nick Robertson of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Everyone knows the stars for the Toronto Maple Leafs. When it comes to their top end talent, few can match the star power the Maple Leafs field on a nightly basis.
But as it’s shown year in and year out, it’s not the team with the best players at the top of the lineup, but who runs the most balanced roster from top to bottom.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the few teams that can rival the Maple Leafs with top end talent, the difference came from the former getting production from the bottom of their lineup.
Also thanks to Toronto’s top end talent, they also face a salary cap crunch year in and year out, making it hard sometimes to find that balance in that lineup.
That’s where getting production from players on entry-level contracts can be the difference, and even though he doesn’t have the draft status as the other more well known forwards, Nick Robertson is quickly making a name for himself as potentially the ‘steal of the 2019 draft’.
While smaller stature players are proving more and more that they can play in the league, come draft time they can still be overlooked. So despite the talent, seeing the 5’9” Robertson was both shocking as well as falling into the status quo all wrapped into one.
In all my time looking him up, I have seen people talk about Robertson’s work ethic, and shear will to make a play despite his size talked about just as much as his pure talent.
And talented he is, recording 55 goals in just 46 games last year with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League. His 1.196 goals per game last year was the seventh highest mark in the history of the OHL.
When the league went to restart, Robertson once again used his willpower to force himself into the Maple Leafs lineup, playing in four playoff games, scoring a goal in the process.
How Robertson Fits Into Lineup?
It would have been easy to pencil Robertson into the lineup going into the offseason but the Maple Leafs made a slew of moves that may have made his place a little more cloudy.
Looking to cement themselves as Stanley Cup contenders, Toronto added veterans Joe Thornton, Wayne Simmons, and Jimmy Vesey, along with depth player Travis Boyd to their forward group.
None of those players provide the offensive upside that Robertson brings to the table.
If Toronto is looking to to beef up their secondary scoring behind the top lines, Robertson is the guy they are going to be looking at. With the team’s top three forwards (Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner) accounting for over $33 million of Toronto’s cap space, what they get out of Robertson - especially in the three years of his entry level deal - can go a long way in how deep a playoff run they are able to pull off.
What are your expectations for Robertson this season? What would be a realistic point output for him during his rookie season? Where in the lineup would you expect him to play? Let us know what you think in the comment section below, subscribe to the site at the link above and follow me on Twitter @AJ_Murfy and @SportBlogMurphy.